IOC withholds medal over political message
LONDON - The Associated Press
Park’s banner reading “Dokdo is our Territory” cost the South Korean a medal. AP photoThe International Olympic Committee will temporarily withhold a bronze medal from a South
Korean football player who displayed a political sign after a game against Japan.
The action by the IOC remains in place until the player’s disciplinary case is completed by FIFA.
The IOC previously told Park Jong-woo’s team to bar him from the medal ceremony at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 10. South Korea beat Japan for the bronze medal.
IOC President Jacques Rogge says FIFA must first decide on possible sanctions. Rogge says “we will take a possible decision of what will happen with the medal later.”
After South Korea won on Aug. 10, Park displayed a sign with a slogan supporting sovereignty over disputed islets that Japan also claims.
The largely uninhabited islets are called Dokdo by South Koreans and Takeshima by Japanese.The IOC and FIFA have statutes that prohibit political statements by athletes and players.
Olympic officials had asked the South Korean Olympic Committee to take action against Park and that he not be present at the ceremony.
The Korean Olympic Committee said Park’s act was a mistake that occurred in the heat of the moment as players celebrated their victory over Japan in Cardiff.
“We understand this wasn’t an intentional act on the player’s part,” the committee said in a statement cited by Yonhap News Agency. “We are trying the best we can to resolve this issue.”